The University of Melbourne
Digital Mental Health Regulation Roundtable Summary - Final Version.pdf (976.54 kB)

Digital Mental Health Regulation Workshop, Nov 2022 - Summary of Discussion - Melbourne Law School

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posted on 2023-08-06, 10:06 authored by PIERS GOODINGPIERS GOODING

The Roundtable discussion on regulation of digital mental health services in Australia took place on Tuesday, 15th of November 2022, and occurred online. It involved 23 participants, including four staff members of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare and three lived experience members to its Digital Mental Health Advisory Group, as well as individuals from diverse government agencies, non-government organisations and service providers, including the National Mental Health Commission, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, Lifeline, e-Mental Health in Practice (eMHPrac), a state Department of Health, This Way Up, Mindspot, the Australian Institute of Digital Health, university researchers, as wellas multiple lived experience participants, including from the lived experience advisory group for the Digital Mental Health and Law group at the University of Melbourne, and the Consumer Health Forum.

The purpose of the Roundtable was to present an overview of the findings from the researchers’ preliminary effort to ‘map’ the regulators that appear to be engaged by digital mental health services, for discussion and feedback, and to seek their perspectives on two key research questions.

The first was a general question:

1.In a general sense, which regulators are responsible for different aspects of digital mental health services in Australia?

The second question was more specific and concerned the National Safety and Quality Digital Mental Health Standards (Digital Mental Health Standards):

2.To which regulatory bodies should digital mental health services bereferred when accrediting agencies (agencies) are assessing that service to the Digital Mental Health Standards and they identify a ‘significant risk’?

The Roundtable discussion suggested that it is not immediately clear which regulatory body should be engaged to respond to different categories of ‘significant risk’, although this depends somewhat on the category of risk. In all categories of significant risk, there are at least two and in some cases multiple regulators who may be engaged. Although there does not appear to be a lack of regulators available to deal with different significant risks, there seemed to be general agreement among discussants at the workshop that it would be beneficial to clearly ‘map’ referral pathways between the Commission and other regulatory bodies. Appropriate mapping may emerge organically over time as the Commission and accrediting agencies receive, respond to and report on instances of significant risk; alternatively, proactive planning may be needed.


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